By Taban Henry
At least five people have been killed and 300 houses burnt into ashes as armed cattle keepers from Jonglei stormed Abara Boma of Iwire Payam in Magwi County on Wednesday evening, a Member of Parliament representing Magwi County in the National Legislative Assembly said.
Speaking in an interview to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper Okello Odongtoo Lawin said thousands were displaced after armed cattle herders stormed the area.
“We have been appealing to the government to make sure that this people are removed from our county and they are taken back to their original homestead because these unruly cattle herders have become a problem. Some individuals who are the members of the army are supplying them with the heavy guns, I describe them as militias because they are not only cattle herders where there is extrajudicial killing,” he said.
Odongtoo added that the cattle herders wanted to invade the land by forcing people to flee so that they finally occupy the area.
He added that if they (herders) were running away from flood, it has already subsided.
“Jonglei is not bordering Magwi County, we only wanted these people to go back from where they come from and leave our farmers alone as we are now approaching the rainy season our people are supposed to prepare their lands for cultivation,” he stated.
Odongtoo explained that no negotiation is going to take place between the farmers and the cattle keepers. “We are not going to give any piece of our land to anybody because this land is made up for the seven clans of the Acholi people of which this land belongs to every clan” he said,
Meanwhile the Governor of Eastern Equatoria State Louis Lobong Lojore stated thatafter an attack by the cattle raiders on the cattle herders of Eastern Equatoria in Agoro last Sunday, the community of Magwi County continues to experience harassment, intimidation, beating and killing by the cattle keepers from Jonglei State.
“This has created fear among the peaceful farmers of Magwi County where many have been displaced from their homes to the County headquarters and are experiencing harsh conditions due to insufficient resources and mega facilities in terms of food, medicine and shelter,” Lobong said.
He stressed that the government and the people of Eastern Equatoria State condemned in the strongest terms possible this un called for attack and killing of people in Magwi County.
“We call upon the cattle keepers from Jonglei to stop the harassment, the killing of innocent people and to immediately return to their areas of origin. We call upon the national government to order the South Sudan Defense Forces to intervene and save the lives and the properties of the people of Eastern Equatoria State,” he explained.